Archive for February 2014


February 17, 2014

Last year I wrote 15000 words on this four letter word. Unfortunately it made me no less prone to feeling envy. It’s a bastard of a thing envy. We don’t like to admit it. We switch it for jealousy because jealousy is a bit more acceptable. But envy and jealousy are not the same. Jealousy is more of a ‘I wish it were me’ kind of thing, envy is more of a ‘I wish it wasn’t you’ kind of thing. Jealousy is more ‘I wish I could have what she has’, envy is more ‘I wish I had it INSTEAD of her’, or just ‘I wish she didn’t have it’. Envy is bitchy.

I saw a flash of envy in myself this week. That’s how it is, it flashes.  Kind of sneaky. I am troubled by this flash of envy that snuck up on me this week.  Instead of feeling joy for a friend at their good news I felt envy.  It wasn’t jealousy. Their news was of something I already have. It was envy. I didn’t want them to have it too.  I felt threat. I felt competition.

They say jealousy implies at least some sort of love for the ‘object’. But not with envy. There is no redeeming feature about envy. It is just rotten to its core. It seeks to destroy and tear down. It is the opposite of love. It treads upon the other. It does not rejoice in or lift up the other.

I hate that I felt this way. I hate that this was my instinctual reaction. I hate that I’m not a better person than this.

The desire to be admired, to stand out, to have position, to have power… The fear of getting lost, of disappearing, of insignificance. These are the kind of things that arouse envy in me instead of love. 

*heads off to work on her shit some more.


I’m sick of stuff

February 15, 2014

Today my friend Judy linked to this post where a lady decided not to buy ANYTHING for her two year old son. No toys, no clothes, no activities, no playgroups, no pre-made kiddy food/snacks, no special baby shampoo or toothpaste.  She is six months in and it seems that neither she nor her two year old is regretting it. Fair play to her.

The question of consumerism is often in our house. I am married to a man who is wearing the same clothes since he was 15. Yes they do have holes. He’s just become stubborn about it at this stage but there’s something good in there about resisting pressure to own the latest trends.  Every purchase for our home comes with an hour long conversation not so much about whether or not we can afford it (which is now more real than ever) but whether or not it is a good use of our money, if we need it? We question everything.

But now we have a baby, and have realised that even when we make decisions about his life he still has friends and aunts and uncles and grannies that might not think likewise.

This troubled me at Christmas. He was 6 months old. He was oblivious so it was easy. I felt strongly that I want him to grow up associating Christmas with ‘God with us’ more than the newest toy fad. I made him a sock monkey and put it in his stocking. We went to church, listened to Kevin Hargaden preach, cried because his words cut and blessed our hearts, Eoin got kisses and hugs galore. These people are his family. And yet by the time Christmas was over we came home from visiting family and friends with more toys than he could visually digest. Whilst I was touched by others generousity I felt slightly sickened that even though we had purposely chosen not to buy him lots of toys at Christmas he still has a room full of them.

But its not just about trying to restore the meaning of Christmas… It’s about trying to help him be someone who grows up not numbed because he is surrounded by too much stuff. How do we protect him from the stuff?! How do we protect ourselves? I’m already numbed by a hundred and one things, facebook scoring highly.

I do not like negotiating these paths, all advice welcome.

I would like to do better at healthier living. I would like to be able to concentrate on a book again. I would like not to be addicted to screens.

Developing virtue and character in this world is hard.